New Delhi [India], July 22 (ANI): Union minister Meenakshi Lekhi on Thursday apologised for her "hooligans not farmers" remarks stating that her statement on the alleged attack on a media person during the 'Farmers' Parliament' at Jantar Mantar today was "'misinterpreted".
A senior video journalist of a leading media channel was allegedly attacked during the protest organised by farmers against the three farm laws, at Jantar Mantar in the national capital.
"During a press conference today, my comment was sought on the Red Fort violence on January 26 and the attack on a media person (at Farmers' Parliament today). In response, I said only hooligans, not farmers can indulge in such activities," the newly inducted union minister of state for external affairs said.
Later the minister told ANI: "My words have been distorted, if it has hurt farmers or any anyone else, then I apologize and take back my words."
A video journalist who was allegedly attacked at the protest site told ANI: "Some people were making videos and verbally abusing media. After a scuffle, a man hit me on the head with a light stand. He hit me thrice with the light stand. The man had an ID of some sort that said Kisan Media. I am not sure if he was a farmer but it appeared he was sympathetic towards the cause of the farmers."
At the press conference, Lekhi said: "They are not farmers, they are hooligans... These are criminal acts. What happened on January 26 was also shameful criminals activities. Opposition promoted such activities."
Bharatiya Kisan Union leader Rakesh Tikait took cognisance of the comment and said that farmers are "anndatas" and are not "hooligans".
"Hooligans are those who have nothing. It is wrong to make such remarks for farmers. We are farmers, not hooligans. Farmers are anndatas of the land," Tikait said.
Another farmer leader Shiv Kumar Kakka said: "Such a remark is an insult to 80 crore farmers of India. If we are hooligans, Meenakshi Lekhi ji should stop eating foodgrain grown by us. She should be ashamed of herself. We have passed a resolution in 'Farmers' Parliament condemning her statement."
Kakka also said that action should be taken against the person who had allegedly attacked the journalist. "No matter which organization the attacker belongs to be it from the police or the government, we should ensure that action is taken and such incidents don't happen again."
Farmers, who have been protesting at Delhi's borders were permitted to hold a 'Farmers Parliament' from today at Jantar Mantar in limited numbers with limited numbers not exceeding 200 persons for Samyukt Kisan Morcha (SKM) and six persons for Kisan Mazdoor Sangharsh Committee (KMSC) from 11 am to 5 pm daily.
Farmers have been protesting on the different borders of the national capital since November 26 last year against the three newly enacted farm laws. So far, several rounds of talks have been held between the Centre and farmer leaders to break the deadlock between the two parties. (ANI)